This post contributed by my American Marketing Group partner, Paul Friederichsen.
Sometimes you just need experience, perspective, and creativity on your side at the strategic level. Having the right partner can either validate and enhance the direction you’re headed or help you with a much-needed course correction. Would you ask, “why work with an accountant?” or “why hire a lawyer?” While marketing consultants don’t have to pass professional certifications to be licensed, the work they do can be every bit as complex, challenging and necessary for their clients.
Q: Why should any business, whether it’s manufacturing or retail, ever need a marketing consultant?
A: Business has gotten far more competitive and sophisticated in recent years. And even though the consumer would have a difficult time recalling more than a handful of brands in certain categories, marketing is nonetheless important to compete effectively in today’s overly saturated media environment. A marketing consultant can give your efforts the attention and expertise they deserve.
Q: Why is today’s media environment such a challenge?
A: It’s all about breaking through the clutter and creating a perception in the mind of your customer that what you are making or selling is worth their time, attention, trust and money. That’s branding comes into play. Without it, you’re nobody and relying on commodity pricing or someone’s customer contact list … factors that can be preempted by a competitor.
Q: But isn’t a “brand” just a name and logo, anyway?
A: That’s part of it, but it doesn’t stop there. A brand is the sum total of all the experiences related to it. Think of your own personal brand … yourself. You’re not just a face and a name. You’re also how you dress, the vocabulary you use, the places you’re seen, the causes you believe in. The brand you sell, whether it’s a type of product or the store you sell it in, works the same way. It’s often difficult for you to see it as your customer sees it and that’s a big reason why you need a marketing consultant.
Q: Will a consultant know more about my business than I do?
A: No. Clients are immersed in their businesses every day. But even marketing professionals on the client-side at the Manager, Director, VP or CMO level can find themselves “too close to the trees to see the forest.” So, part of the value of a consultant is also perspective. A good consultant can not only see the obstacles, but also the opportunities and advantages that can be a boon to your business.
About Paul Friederichsen
Paul is a contributing editor to Floor Focus magazine, contributing author to Branding Strategy Insider, has been a guest on Business Radio X, “Up or Out” Radio with Connie Pheiffand has been interviewed by The New York Times, Mashable.com and CNBC. Paul is also a contributing writer to the New York Daily News on marketing and brand-related topics. He has served on the advisory council and spoken at The International Surface Event and Coverings trade show.